Okay, let's enter a time machine: Almost exactly two years ago (October '10), LVMH announced that it had acquired a rather hefty share of Hermès stock. In fact, the conglomerate revealed a 17% ownership of the company, which it didn't need to disclose due to the fact that shares were purchased via a "cash-settled equity swap," which Hermès was none too happy about.
So, today, Hermès is kicking up its lawsuit claim since LVMH's stake has now risen to 22.3% of Hermès shares (though, a good portion is owned by a group of families, too). In Hermès' suit, which was filed in July but announced today, the company accuses LVMH of insider trading and obtaining its stakes through confusing, convoluted, and not entirely legal means.
We spoke to a day trader who is both familiar with this case and insider-trading claims, and he pointed out that this is another example of a long-standing family feud in the French luxury market — calling out the just-filed countersuit from LVMH accusing Hermès of defamation, blackmail, and slander. To us, this sounds like a popcorn-poppin', claws-out, no-holds-barred catfight, which leaves us wondering: Why can't all of our super-luxe, heritage-worthy, items-larger-than-paychecks lifestyle brands just get along? (WWD)